A/N: Written throughout December.


1 - Belief in Magic, Angel's POV


I can hardly sleep. Just as soon as I managed to settle in, Spike shifted in his sleep and wrapped himself around me. It's too cute for words, and I can't stop thinking about what he did today. I'll have to check under his pillow for the next few weeks. I'm still wired from the day. It was eventful from the moment I woke up.

Spike, in his infinite wisdom, decided to throw a shoe at me while I was sleeping. When I sat up, the other one hit me in the head. They were my own.

"You left those in the bathroom," Spike said. "In the bathroom," he repeated so I'd know what crime I'd committed.

Then when I went to take my shower, his sopping wet towel was on the floor.

"Spike, I thought we talked about this."

"Yeah, well, if you can leave your shoes in there, I can leave my towel on the floor."

My response was the grab the towel and beat him with it mercilessly. By the end of it, Spike was pinned underneath me, every inch of bare skin pink from being smacked by the wet towel, and we were both sopping wet.

The fight was quickly followed by a long, shared shower that involved a lot of thorough cleaning. When he was done drying off and I was still in my towel he smacked me hard in the groin and tried to walk off. He got as far as the bedroom before I tackled him.

This is where my unlife has led me, I thought afterwards when we both lay on the bed silently cupping ourselves after what felt like an hour of punching each other in the balls.

"None for you tonight," Spike finally muttered.

"We'll see."

We dressed and ate separately and then ended up going down to the office at about the same time. I was hoping for something more violent to do, but this place is only designed to torture. There was a mountain of paperwork instead, and Spike pissed around as usual. If I let myself follow my darkest impulses, I'd burn this place to the ground, salt the earth, and fuck Spike in the ashes. No, on second though I'd take him far, far away first. Didn't matter where, but just somewhere better.

The thought got to me. I followed a brighter impulse instead.

"Where're we headed?" Spike asked in the car.

"Out."

"Mind being a bit more specific?"

I didn't bother to answer him.

"Drama queen. If you wanted to kill something we coulda brought Charlie boy and Percy along. If you wanted to take me somewhere to shag… well that's not your style. No fancy outings for Spikey. And it's the wrong time of the month to be visiting your dog-face girl. Care to clue me in?"

"No, keep guessing," I smirked, but it wouldn't be much longer before we were there, and even then I figured he wouldn't get it.

"The mall?" Spike blurted out, only after I got out of the car and he realized I was serious. He was perched up in the car like a cat, uncertain whether he would stay, get out to follow me, or flee altogether. "The sodding mall?"

"You coming or what?"

Spike looked paler than usual, and almost fell out of the convertible, not bothering to use the door. He quickly stumbled over his own feet to catch up with me, apparently more unwilling to be left alone. "There'd better be evil here."

"I'll buy you one of those little massagy things," I told him, and his face immediately changed into a mask of wonder.

"What 'little massagy things'?"

"Oh bloody hell, don't stop," Spike cursed when I finally turned it off.

I snickered at him, trying to remind him of how he was acting in a store with people milling around freely.

"We should save it for later tonight, sweetie," I replied. "I'll massage whatever you want." Not gonna lie, I felt a little glee when a lady nearby looked at us, went a little flush and moved along quickly.

"You know, people rarely use those for massaging their backs," Spike pointed out, even though I'd done just that for about five minutes, deeply amused by the way he moved against the thing. I swear he's still purring a little, and there's a weird, lazy after-glow like mood to him.

"Oh, I know," I assured him with a wink, picking up a blue model. Within half an hour I had a bag of bought goods – the massager, some books for me, some movies for him.

We were crossing the main foyer on our way out of the labyrinth of shops when we saw him. Red suit, full fluffy beard and everything. He was wishing a little girl merry Christmas in a hearty voice.

"Santa!" Spike blurted out. I could barely believe it until he charged the poor man like some man-child, but to Santa's credit, he took it in stride.

"Hello!" he greeted in a deep, jolly voice.

"I've always wondered, how do you get those reindeer to fly you around the world in just a night?" Spike asked him, completely serious. "'Specially seeing how most folks don't have chimneys these days."

"Christmas Eve is a magical time," Santa responded cryptically.

Spike tipped his head back. "Ah. A sort of spell. A very big one."

Santa merely laid his finger alongside his nose and winked, and Spike grinned, looking very proud of himself.

"If I wrote you what I want for Christmas, would you get it?" Spike asked as I stood beside him, waiting for the moment to leave.

"Leave it under your pillow and I'll certainly get it," Santa said, giving me a meaningful look.

"More magic," Spike said decidedly.

"I'll look forward to your letter, and if you're very good I'm sure you'll get what you want," Santa told him.

"You're gonna have to start being verygood," I teased under my breath.

"I've got lots of other boys and girls to see," Santa told us as he started to walk away, "but I'll stop by on Christmas Eve!"

"What kind of cookies do you like?" Spike questioned.

"All kinds, but sugar cookies are my favorite," he said with a wink.

"I'll keep that in mind."

"Merry Christmas!" Santa called out with a wave, walking away.

"You too, big guy," Spike responded as I dragged him off. "Much better than the child-eating demon version," he said to me.

"Do you really believe that he was Santa Claus?" I asked, almost afraid to question him, but I had to know.

"TheSanta Claus, yes," Spike emphasized. "His beard wasn't fake. His suit wasn't that lightweight fake stuff. Twinkle in his eyes and everything."

"You're too precious for this world," I teased, bumping into him as we walked. "Are you going to write to him and leave out sugar cookies and everything?"

"Just as an experiment," Spike defended slightly. "But I think I've got it figured. It's the sacrifice of the cookies that makes the magic work. Gotta have a sacrifice. I'll leave out a little extra to cover the kiddies that don't have any to offer. Much better than the child-eating demon version," he repeated.

We went home and ate, watched a Christmas special on TV about some little girl and a reindeer that may or may not have been Santa's.

"You think it really was his reindeer?" I asked softly at the end, nudging against him to make sure he was even awake. He'd been so still and quiet in my arms for the last few minutes.

"Either that or the reindeer went over the cliff," he responded. "Rather think that it flew off."

I agreed. It was much better to have a little faith in magic. We both knew there were a lot of things that people didn't see in the world. A lot of bad things, but a lot of good.

"Time for bed," I prodded, pushing him up.

"It's early," Spike complained. "Not even tired."

"Me neither, but I want to put that massager to good use."

"Oh," Spike said, and immediately stood up. "Yeah?"

"Mmm."

"Think I have a few kinks you could work out," Spike said, shrugging slightly.

"I've got a lotof things in mind."

Spike tsked. "Too naughty and you won't get anything from Santa."

"I think Santa excuses this kind of naughty."